AppFlowy: An Open Source Notion Alternative Supported By Industry Giants


A new startup called AppFlowy has emerged in the workplace productivity space, aiming to revolutionize project and knowledge management with its open-source approach. The company recently announced that it has secured $6.4 million in funding from a group of high-profile investors, including Matt Mullenweg from Automattic, Steve Chen from YouTube, Tom Preston-Werner from GitHub, Bob Young from Red Hat, and Amr Awadallah from Cloudera. The seed round was led by OSS Capital, a venture capital firm specializing in open-source software.

Key Takeaway

AppFlowy, an open-source alternative to Notion, has received $6.4 million in funding and boasts support from industry giants. It offers a self-hostable platform that prioritizes data control and customization. With its recent cloud product launch, AppFlowy aims to cater to businesses seeking the convenience of cloud deployment while addressing security concerns. The company plans to monetize through a freemium model and is developing a mobile app for enhanced cross-platform usage.

A Unique Solution for Data Control and Customization

While collaboration software like Notion has experienced massive success recently, businesses, especially larger enterprises, may be hesitant to fully commit to a proprietary solution that they can’t fully control. AppFlowy aims to address this concern by offering a self-hostable platform that emphasizes security and extensibility. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, AppFlowy provides various tools for project management, note-taking, deadline tracking, and document creation. What sets AppFlowy apart is its focus on control and customizability, allowing companies to tailor their workspace with modular building blocks that cater to their specific needs. Additionally, being open-source enables AppFlowy to support community contributions, expanding its functionality.

AppFlowy believes that it is particularly suitable for industries with strict data privacy regulations. Many proprietary workplace collaboration tools have limitations that make it challenging or expensive for users to retain full control of their data. This can create concerns about vendor lock-in and the longevity of the tools. By offering a self-hostable and open-source alternative, AppFlowy aims to alleviate these worries and provide users with the peace of mind they need.

Expanding into the Cloud

AppFlowy, founded two years ago by Annie Anqi Wang and Nathan Foo, recently made its mark on GitHub and gained over 30,000 “stars” within its first year. With the recent funding, the company plans to further develop its platform and turn it into a profitable business. In addition to introducing self-hosting capabilities through Supabase, AppFlowy also unveiled its cloud product that can be deployed on platforms like Amazon EC2 and Azure virtual machines. This move caters to companies that prefer the convenience and scalability of cloud deployment but have concerns about data security.

AppFlowy Cloud promises end-to-end encryption (E2EE) as an option for businesses worried about cloud security. However, E2EE is not mandatory, as its activation may restrict some features like real-time collaborative editing and integration with certain third-party services. The company understands that different organizations have different requirements and priorities, and it aims to offer a flexible solution. AppFlowy users can adopt a hybrid approach, using a local instance and syncing to the cloud when necessary. This allows for offline usage and cloud backup or sharing as desired.

Monetization and Future Developments

While AppFlowy Cloud is currently offered for free during its private beta phase, the company plans to adopt a freemium model in the future. Certain premium features will be reserved for paid users. AppFlowy also announced plans to launch a mobile app next month, enabling cross-platform functionality.

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